Sky Team’s Zero-Tolerance Policy Applies? Plus, Cross Racing Live Feed

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All staff, including riders and senior figures including sporting director Sean Yates, a long-standing friend and former team-mate of Armstrong’s, will be asked to confirm that they have no issues that could put them in breach of the team’s zero-tolerance policy on doping.

This was a quote in the Daily Telegraph that stated that Sky’s Dave Brailsford asked all employees to state their history with doping. I’m sort of wondering how Sean is going to get out of this situation.

I’m pretty sure that Sean had an “issue” in the late 80’s, maybe early 90’s. I think it was at the Tour of Belgium, but he got out of the situation on a technicality. I think it was because the UCI released the information to the media in Britain before they notified the British Federation and Sean. Go figure. For me, that wouldn’t be enough for him to lose his job, but I’m not sure what a zero-tolerance policy actually means to them.

But, Sean’s statement of “I’d turn up, I’d drive the car in the Tour de France, and I never ever saw an indication of anything dodgy going on. I used to jump out in the morning, go out on my bike, go back, drive the car, and call the tactics now and then, but I never saw anything that was untoward.” didn’t sound believable to anyone that has any knowledge of the sport and the role of a director in the Tour.

The real problem with going too far back and making these guys fess up is that there is a point where virtually everyone has a ghost in their closet.

Back in the 90’s former Belgian cycling champion Eddy Planckaert, admitted experimenting with EPO. I remember reading in the same interview something like, “If you’re a professional rider in Belgium and you say that you don’t take amphetamines then you’re a liar.”

I remember going to a race in Belgium in 1988, the last race my Wheaties/Schwinn team was going to be racing that spring in Europe. Paul Watson, a British rider and now friend of mine, riding for Hitachi, came over to us and said there was no testing that day. That meant nothing to us. Claude Criquielion had his Hitachi guys all riled up and it was 50k an hour from the gun. I lasted less than an hour out of a 200km race. It was like night and day the difference between what we’d been doing the past 6 weeks and racing that day. And that was just with amphetmines and such. It got much worse in the 90’s.

Anyway, below is video of the famous finish of the 1988 World Championships in Ronse, Beglium. Steve Bauer and Claude Criquielion got tangled up at the end. I was racing that day, but didn’t finish. I must of saw the sprint at least 500 times on TV when I was in Belgium. It was tragic way to finish a epic race.

Speaking of Ronse, the 2012 GVA Bpost Bank Trophy Cyclocross Ronse-Kluisbergen (GP Mario De Clercq) is on live at 7:40am Midwest time, men’s race starts at 8:00am. Click here for the links at

17 thoughts on “Sky Team’s Zero-Tolerance Policy Applies? Plus, Cross Racing Live Feed

  1. Andy

    When you say you lasted less than an hour, what were you thinking at the time? Did you think “these guys are definitely juiced” or was like like “i must be having a bad day”? Just curious how in touch you were with the reality of the situation back then about how rampant the doping was and if you ever thought maybe the mountain, metaphorically speaking, was too big too climb. Obviously you are still here and relevant in the sport today, so i’m curious of your feelings back then about the condition of the sport and if you wanted to throw in the towel.

  2. Curby

    The leadout tactic didn’t work for Bauer in the Olympics against Alexi either. Also nice elbow at the end as a little extra to put him in the fence.

  3. JohnnyK

    I wonder if Julich has much to worry about as well. his best TDF finish was aboard a team that was as dirty as any and he was their top dog at the race that season. His results took a decent sized dip for a while after that year. Makes you wonder if he decided to clean up or had a scare or whatever.

  4. tilford97 Post author

    Andy-Yeah, that race made a big imprint on my racing. For one, don’t do races in Europe that didn’t have testing. That being said, I raced a ton of Kermesses in Beglium in the 90’s and didn’t have the same problem as I did in the late 80’s.

    I kept “relevant” by switching up which aspect of the sport I concentrated on. When the drugs got stupid in road racing, I switched to MTB. Then, when MTB internationally, caught up with the road, I pretty much quit racing internationally and concentrated on the road domestically.

    Not always just because of which area was the most polluted with drugs, but that did play a big part.

  5. old and slow

    If Julich turns out to be the most prominent name that doesn’t get dragged into this neck deep, then I’m totally cool with that.

    Unlike a lot of these other characters Bobby had to serve the “I’m a pro but I’m just not getting paid right now” sentence on his way up to the podium in Paris. For quite a while too, as I recall? Besides the guy drove himself so hard that he crashed himself out of two major time trials, right?

    On the other hand Bobbie also rode spectacularly well in the last week of two of the dirtiest tours in history.

    Nowadays that’s about enough to make you guilty as charged, I guess?

    So if you want pure as the driven snow you have to go all the way back to Andy Hampsten; finally I can really appreciate the weight that Andy was carrying on his shoulders when they were building him up to be a contender to Indurain.

  6. Bill K

    Yates needs to do what many riders do……………
    Lie like a rug.
    If you’re a professional rider in Belgium and you say that you don’t take amphetamines then you’re a liar

  7. Jeff Shilt


    Thanks for your consistent and thoughtful perspectives. Cycling started out as one of the ways I chose to get fit after medical training, evolving to a super fan, team physician and amateur participant in the sport.

    I appreciate your raw candor, similar to Alexi Grewal’s perspective. Right or wrong, I fell like I can trust that what you both write is believable. This past writing of his, in particular, is pertinent.

    Thanks again for your candor and insight.


  8. Rishi


    So what were these guys taking for tested races, as we all know you could take stuff back then that was undetectable. So the Worlds come around and Bauer is in the mix, what is up with that?

    Would you have placed a lot higher if the field was clean?

  9. tilford97 Post author

    Rishi-I have no idea what people took anytime I raced. I was pretty naive and uninterested in the whole thing. I do know that there was a lot of amphetamines and steroids going around before the new oxygen drugs. Those new drugs changed the racing seen dramatically, as you know. I hate doing would have, could have scenarios. I do know I’ve raced virtually my whole “career” with a bunch of guys that take drugs. First road racing domestically, then internationally, then MTB racing internationally, then domestically, and finally back to road racing domestically ultimately got polluted.

    I assume I would have placed better in a ton of events I’ve done without people racing doped. I have a ton of examples of where I was going great and then got stomped on by some guy that ended getting popped ultimately. It was so obvious at the time, but you never know until after the fact. That being said, I didn’t let it bother me too much. It’s sort of been on my mind a lot more recently with all this new stuff coming out. Makes you think for sure.

  10. mike crum

    you raced your whole career with guys that took drugs, but you say you didnt..that had to be pretty hard to be the only guy on the team not taking any. it had to be pretty tough mentally knowing you are eating correctly, training correctly, and recovering, but all the others are doing what you’re doing plus taking should have ratted them all out back in the 80’s and 90’s , this way this drug thing wouldnt be so bad like it is now. you should have said something to the big wigs to get this drug usage stopped.that had to have been hard racing your whole career with everyone on drugs but you.

  11. Nancy

    Sean Yates’ wiki page said that he tested positive but there is no detail about it and no ban? I am not sure why he must defend himself about his past with Postal since he is already a convicted doper and Sky policy is to have no former doper in their staff. It just looked as PR crap from Sky since they should know about him from the first day?

  12. Just Crusty

    Mike Crum,

    Good questions. Thanks for the input.
    From your posts, you obviously are a really experienced road racer. What did you do when you saw your competitors winning? Was it because of the drugs they took? Did you rat them out?

  13. jerry

    I raced from the early 70’s to the early 80’s. I always had my suspicions about doping in the US, but there was no testing in those days. I beleive the drugs used were mainly over the counter such as ephidrines and psuedoepinefrines. I think occasionally guys would use speed, but I would like to beleive it was fairly isolated. Nobody really talked about it, mainly just rumors about somebody, usually returning from Europe where they “learned how to do it”. That being said, I wonder how many placings I may have lost thru the years? I get it.

    The thing that really bothers me now is the idea that a guy can pass drug tests and still be taken out 12 years later based on accusations and testemony from known liars and confessions coerced. Watch out Brad Wiggins, someday somebody might make an accusation against you.

    The other thing that really bugs me is that cycling has a terrible reputation, Well deserved, but our sport is the only one actually trying to clean up. What do you think would happen if the NFL suddenly started testing for PEDs. They don’t now and never will. They do not fall under the authority of the USADA. They never will and neither does baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. This sport has a problem but at least we have worked hard to eliminate it and have suffered greatly for both the problem and the solution.

  14. jerry


    Everyone is aware of the accusations over the years regarding Lance. Nobody believes he was clean, including me. But nobody ever got him in over 500 actual tests. He never got nailed thru blood passport. The problem comes in the conflicting hard science versus testimony. If the WADA & USADA are going to bury riders based on accusations in the face of passed dope tests, why even bother dope testing? Why not just wait until enough rumors build up and offer a few deals to teammates? I find it interesting that the deals offered to current riders was to testify and get a 6 month suspension at the end of the season so they can pick up where they left off next spring. Was the other side of the deal an “or else we will give you the Lance treatment?” The rules exist as much to protect innocent people as to convict the guilty.

    Just sayin that we have to be careful not to build booby traps for innocent riders in the future that pass drug tests, but piss somebody off.


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